Amber Reyngoudt and Dave Peck want to figure out how to perfect the mobile shopping experience — and they thinks it’s flipping through fewer products, not more.
Skull Ninja Labs’ first product is Hit or Miss — a tinder-like interface where users can swipe through a curated set of products and quickly build a profile of the things they like that’s. But the catch is that the products that show up on Hit or Miss are initially curated, rather than generated algorithmically. That can be specific styles or brands, for example, and users can utilize the app to make purchases of the things they like the most.
Each action on Hit or Miss — a like or a dislike — feeds the company’s algorithm to better recommend what kinds of styles a user might enjoy the most. With an update today, the service is going to also be curated by fashion bloggers, further refining the scope of the products that show up on Hit or Miss. Again, the goal is to ensure that there isn’t a ton of content on the app, but rather just the right amount of content.
“It’s more like life — having a fast-paced, short attention span,” she said. “We live on our mobile devices, it’s getting better but up to this point it’s not a fun experience to shop on your phone. I just want to be part of that and help solve that shopping.”
Users, based on what they set as a hit or a miss, are given information on their favorite types of clothing, favorite brands and they can save those clothes they’ve labeled as hits to purchase them later. Both hits and misses are fed into the platform to better inform what should be curated in the future, as well as feed into that backend rating system.
Hit or Miss is just the first app to showcase a platform called Wallabii, which Skull Ninja Labs co-founder Reyngoudt says has been the company’s effort from day one. Reyngoudt and her team had been working on the platform for about two years, which brings in curated content from specialists Skull Ninja works with. And all this feeds back into Wallabii, making it a better recommendation platform.
That’s part of the goal of the application, which Reyngoudt hopes will eventually be one of many that are powered by the platform she’s built. Reyngoudt spent much of her time consulting in the past few years, but eventually turned her attention full-time to Wallabii. “Hit or Miss is just basically one piece, it’s built on top of that platform.”
The goal is to figure out what the users lie most in order to personalize the experience and have it half curated by hand and half powered by machine learning. Users can purchase clothes through the app — which is routed to the retailers’ sites through the browser — but the goal next is to build a more seamless buying experience. Reyngoudt said first time users spend up to 40 minutes browsing collections, and its users visit the app two to three times a week.
“We don’t want to overwhelm the users with tons of products, that’s what the problem is now,” Reyngoudt said. “We still want to keep it personal and learn and give them a products that they’ll like.”
To be sure, this is a crowded space with multiple other platforms — like Polyvore and Poshmark — attempting to solve a similar problem. But Reyngoudt and Peck are hoping that with a much more simplified approach (like showcasing just a few products each day), the app will be one that hits critical mass.
And another selling point for the company, Reyngoudt said, is that Wallabii doesn’t necessarily have to be used just for retail products based on its structure. Because of the way it’s built, there are plenty of other possibilities.
“The idea would be that stores and retailers can use that and push products into an app to create an experience for shopping stores,” she said. “But even though it’s product-related, we have a whole rating system. It’s just an object, it doesn’t have to be a product. It could be people, it could be used for many other thing. At the moment, Hit or Miss is the first app we’re using to showcase the platform.”